Author Archives: Steve Prentice

Facebook’s Lesson In Effortless Marketing

Facebook’s Lesson In Effortless Marketing

Facebook’s Effortless Marketing

Do you remember those early TV commercials for Facebook (See Parody)? When it was just starting out and social media was a new thing? Of course you don’t. Because they didn’t happen. Facebook grew into a world-changing phenomenon despite a lack of traditional advertising. Their first ever TV spot happened in 2012, and this tale of two marketing approaches speaks volumes to organizations that marvel at Facebook’s enormous success – with almost 1.5 billion subscribers – and who would like to emulate it, even in part.

facebook-cloud

The magic of Facebook’s growth is partly in the very fact that they did not have to advertise. People were drawn to it because of a collective and instinctive desire to connect, communicate and to see what others were doing. In other words, attraction to, and use of this product required no enticement. It answered an ultimate need, and engagement became effortless.

This is a crucial lesson to learn. Marketers spend a great deal of time and money trying to figure out what customers want, and then building both a stimulus and a response into their customer relationship vehicles. The current focus on omni-channel is a strong case in point. Customers today have not only become more mobile, but they are expecting a seamless, consistent experience that offers no delays, and which responds to their needs even when they switch from desktop to smartphone. This ease of communication echoes to some degree the key factors behind the easy adoption of Facebook: it’s a natural activity of connection.

Creating Innovations with Art & Science

science-art

(Image Source: rvlsoft / Shutterstock)

The business of digital marketing is an art and a science that focuses on developing and communicating a brand, and then getting that brand message across to an audience who is then expected to respond with a desire to purchase the product. The lever of enticement uses degrees of friction, from high – using techniques such as urgency and peer pressure, through to zero friction, which is the case with FaceBook.

The growing sophistication of the global customer base, in the retail and the B2B industrial fields, means that the closer you can get to zero friction, the more genuine and long-lasting the relationship will be.

This is why techniques such as HP’s process to analyze “digital halos are well primed for this newest era of the new economy. In today’s connected world, the Digital Consumer leaves “digital fingerprints” whenever they interact with the brand. This provides unprecedented insight by looking at the available data about the customer’s Digital Halo to predict future purchase behavior. It allows for a more accurate calculation of the next best action in both service and sales, which can then be presented at the right time, in the right channel and at a price that will successfully influence a purchase decision. Whether in a store or using an app, a customer deserves and expects to feel truly understood, and highly up-to-date. Data-based profiles help do just that.

The second lesson to take from the Facebook model is the fact that they now have started to run TV spots after all. This seems to fly directly in the face of their effortless marketing, but in fact demonstrates that no company is ever too big or too successful to question its approaches and to try new things, especially given the endless stream of competitors and start-ups nipping at their heels.

So Facebook is now trying to spread its message consciously through advertising. Google has reinvented its brand. And thousands of other companies are discovering their true new calling in switching from product focused to service focused. Innovation and change never stop. But the constant is the human desire to answer its needs through convenience. So long as this is demonstrable in your marketing message, you will have direct access to the customer’s attention and loyalty.

For more on this topic, please visit businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by HP Enterprise Services.

By Steve Prentice

Cloud-Based Collaboration And The Heart Of The Tin Man

Cloud-Based Collaboration And The Heart Of The Tin Man

The Heart of the Tin Man

This is an exciting age to do business. Humans are connecting and communicating using new technologies that free them from many of the factors that caused delay and error in the analog world, such as death by meeting, flight delays, traffic jams and overbooked boardrooms. Wireless devices, BYOD and cloud-based collaboration are the new tools of commerce. The challenge, though comes about with their human operators, who sometimes do not make a successful adjustment.

boardroom

Old habits die hard. People who started their careers, or even their childhoods, using a rotary dial phone, tend to retain some element of the tradition of formality and centralization of power that is at odds with today’s new seamless and wireless economy. Such a mechanical device, which in earlier decades was run essentially by a singular “phone company” influenced the attitudes and expectations of a great many people. Individuals struggle to this day, seeking to reconcile the new instantaneous, multi-channel economy with the attitudes of structure and formality formed in earlier years. Yes, they all may be carrying smartphones now, but they are still booking boardrooms for meetings, booking flights for cross-country travel, and finding themselves buried under a mountain of email. (Although email appears to be a modern technology, it has more in common with paper than it does with the internet.) Cloud-based collaboration and project management applications remove the need for email attachments and email itself. But it will likely be many years before email becomes as scarce as the electric typewriter, and for the same reason: it is a comfortable connection to past behavior. Habit has a hard time letting go.

The Next Level of Enterprise Communication

It is necessary for thought leaders and managers in organizations to recognize that the inherent biases in being an analog human are hard to remove, and the attitudes must be unfrozen and replaced with new ones, in concert with the installation of wireless, digital collaboration technology.

Face Time

CubicleTake the concept of face time for example. How prepared is your company or your manager, to trust that if you choose to work from home, that you are actually working, and not watching Dr. Phil? Has the trust factor sufficiently penetrated your culture to allow remote work to have a value equal to being at the office? There are numerous studies that show that work performed at home, in blocks that match an individual’s attention span, is far more productive than simply sitting in a cubicle. But facts do not by default override feelings. That is the human way. What people feel will always carry more weight than what they think, until proven otherwise.

We have an opportunity now to avoid repeating a mistake of 25 years ago. When electronic mail was introduced as a new high-speed communications technique, it did not come with any form of instruction or policy manual. This resulted in millions of people suffering the time-wasting distraction of overloaded in-boxes, the political ramifications of poorly worded text, the redundancies of cc lists, and the overall inefficiency of the medium for creativity and problem solving. E-mail has probably cost companies more than it has made, not because of the technology itself, but because humans were never shown how to properly use it.

Organizations need policies and standards: how to prepare a timeline for a project based on units other than the hours between 9 and 5; how to structure employees’ workweeks to truly balance family and health time with slices of applied work that match metabolisms rather than calendars; and how to delve into the unstructured data of social media to detect and understand the latent passions, talents and potential of an employee that the more formal, traditional assessment tools tend to miss.

There is no question that an organization still needs structure to run effectively, just like a human being needs a skeleton. But around our bones there are organs and systems, specialized and very fluid, that have not only evolved to exploit a specific ability, but also continue to respond and react to influences around us, building immunity and furthering the collective effort.

Modern business technologies are fascinating and beautiful in their wireless and dynamic versatility. But every human being, regardless of age or generation, suffers an attitudinal time lag, anchored to the experiences of their formative years. These, too, must be recognized and built in to any exercise in organizational renewal.

For more on this topic, please visit businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by HP Enterprise Services.

By Steve Prentice

Beware The Random Element In Big Data

Beware The Random Element In Big Data

Big Data Analytics

In 1983, author Isaac Asimov published a remarkable science fiction anthology called Foundation. Its central theme was the use of mathematical models to envision the progress of civilization and to establish appropriate benchmarks for its successful continuance over thousands of years. In essence, the book focused on big data as the driving force behind the biological and political furtherance of humankind, a science that proved remarkably efficient until (spoiler alert!) it was undone by a completely unforeseen and random element: a mutation.

As companies and organizations worldwide scramble to incorporate big data analytics into their commerce strategies, they are reminded constantly of the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest that the numbers can provide: real-time analysis of consumer demand, trends, peaks and means, and using this to shape their game plan. Management is often criticized for being slow to embrace change and for holding back the deployment of new technologies to address a swiftly-changing, consumer-led economy. Yet it is equally important for management to exercise the privilege of the position: to express due concern that the random element must always be factored into an equation for there to be true balance.

Take SQL Injection as an example. This is the act of injecting malicious SQL code into a database by squeezing it into an otherwise innocent form field on, let’s say, a website’s shopping cart page. Normal shoppers recognize the space required for the 16-character credit card number, and fill it in accordingly. But hackers and thieves – the mutation in an otherwise ideal commerce scenario – see this panel as an entry point into which they can place their own destructive code.

Great Power In Numbers

big-data-numbers

Random elements exist anywhere that data exists. Password security is often compromised by sloppy human behavior – writing passwords down, or using ones that are easily guessed. Data breaches are often caused by careless employees, rather than sophisticated international hacks. These are the mutations that chip away at the sanctity of an otherwise perfect digital system.

With big data, numbers have great power, but outliers and random elements can skew results badly. Something as simple as a Twitter meme gone wrong or a rogue tweet from an employee may be sufficient to destroy a hard-won brand identity.

Recently, a well-known provider of off-site airport parking services was caught short-handed when a freak winter storm deposited two feet of snow over all of the cars parked in its lot. The storm happened over a Saturday night and ended just as planeloads of tourists returned from their sunny vacations, looking for their vehicles at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

storm

With only one staff member on duty, the company was forced to go into damage control, dealing with hundreds of frustrated families, along with media coverage. Storms are, of course, a normal part of winter, but their randomness makes the allocation of staff and resources on a quiet weekend something less than a perfect science, regardless of the analytics available.

All of these examples, the snowstorm, the twitter memes and the SQL hacks, conceal a critical lesson that must occupy a space at the strategic table: big data is powerful, and can assist companies in engaging with their customers more efficiently, profitably, and individually. But to be seduced by the data alone – without allowance for the random mutation – leaves a company exposed to the realities of life, which are not always calculable.

For more on this topic, please visit businessvalueexchange.com/, sponsored by HP Enterprise Services.

By Steve Prentice

Lawsuits and Legacy – Ensuring Legacy Material Will Withstand Scrutiny

Lawsuits and Legacy – Ensuring Legacy Material Will Withstand Scrutiny

Lawsuits and Legacy

Many people envision technology as purely a forward-looking thing, with new approaches to commerce and communications offering increased levels of security and profitability. Although this is indeed the case, it is also important to keep an eye on the past, in terms of the documents and activities that become part of every company’s legacy. This can become a dangerous and expensive proposition if litigation ever becomes an issue.

When a company faces legal action, either from an individual, or as part of a class action, one of the most expensive and time-consuming activities involves the need to pore over millions of documents, including day-to-day emails and texts, as part of the discovery process. The legal team might not even know what they are looking for specifically, but even the most innocuous late Friday afternoon joke of the day might end up becoming something that sways a judge much further down the road.

legal

Avoidance of costly damages and of litigation in particular is based in a great measure on preparedness – keeping all of one’s records, files and other material in good order, and easily findable. It is one of the key pieces of guidance that legal professionals willingly offer: keep everything in order, above board, and to a minimum.

For CIOs, this means reviewing the ways in which communication happens within a business. Over the past decades, email has grown into a communications lifeblood, and one that seems to be essentially free. But email is not free. Firstly, its lack of context often leads to misunderstandings or the need for repetition. In many cases, an issue or idea can be more effectively dealt with through live conversation, but email appears so much more convenient. It is also an emotional shield. People tend to hide behind emails because it seems easier than actually engaging in a conversation. Thirdly, email is not as free as it seems. The time that employees take to read, reply to and compose emails is often time that could be better applied elsewhere. Its false immediacy makes people feel the need to respond right away, which incorrectly reprioritizes email to the top of the pile. And finally, there is just too much of it. People are cc’d and included in ways they do not need. All of this costs time and therefore costs money.

New Technologies Increasing Productivity

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New technologies are now available that can replace email with far more productive and time-efficient communications and collaborations techniques, allowing companies to redesign their habits with both brevity and priority in mind. Wouldn’t companies want their employees focusing their attention on their most important, profitable tasks?

Similarly, there is a duty of care that workplaces owe to employees and customers with regard to safeguarding data. Breaches and hacks can come from anywhere and start from anywhere, and in many cases their origins are internal, either from innocent mistakes or sabotage. Much of this damage can be prevented by deploying watchdog technology that constantly observes data activity upon a network. But even in cases where an attack or breach has already happened, part of the restoration and damage-containment strategy will depend on a company’s record of how well it proactively looked after the material.

The message that these scenarios brings to CIOs is that a company’s legacy, in terms of stored communications data and network activity, may come back to haunt those who have not taken care to manage and minimize it. As they guide their organizations forward into the new world of IT, they should take stock of the opportunity to both adopt new, better practices for communicating, and simultaneously ensuring that legacy material will withstand scrutiny.

By Steve Prentice

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

(The author of this paper is not a lawyer. This document should not be construed as direct legal advice).

Unscrambling An Egg: How CIOs Can Enable Business Through Unstructured Data

Unscrambling An Egg: How CIOs Can Enable Business Through Unstructured Data

How CIOs Can Enable Business Through Unstructured Data

According to IBM’s Global C-suite study, one of the CIO’s primary responsibilities is to help companies deliver a better customer experience through technology. Customers enjoy far more choice than ever, and they are empowered by social media to make more educated decisions, whether this is in regard to purchasing a pair of shoes (B2C) or office equipment (B2B).

Much of this information comes to consumers in text or video format from social media, websites and YouTube videos. This information is hugely influential as it leads ultimately to the yes/no purchase decision. When information appears in written, spoken or visual format, it is called unstructured data. This is because there is data in the words, but it flows as a continuum, which people are very good at comprehending, but computers are not.

Exponential Data Growth

On the supply side, it has been very difficult to make use of unstructured data, and that is a shame, since many experts in IT and commerce estimate that 80 percent of customer knowledge exists in this unstructured format. That’s a lot of data! Where does it come from? Sources include comments on “contact us” forms, customer emails, surveys, recordings of conversations with help desks, customer service centers and call centers, comments on social media, and blogs. Most of these sources are relatively new, having come into their own in the era of social media, but it has always seemed too expensive to try to glean the data from the words in any systematic fashion. In addition, the amount of this information continues to grow, daily.

unstructured-data

That is now changing. New developments in technology have made it possible to “unscramble the egg;” To pull data out of an unstructured pile and make use of it. The actual techniques used to do this include Text mining, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Sentiment analytics, Machine learning and others, each of which extracts meaning out of text by using immense computing power in place of the natural contextual interpretive abilities that humans enjoy.

The key point here though, is that this new frontier waits for the CIO to initiate, or at least facilitate the move forward. Many companies remain stuck in an earlier age, with silos separating their departments and a great deal of delay or waste happening due to a legacy ERP culture. There is a general distrust of social media and an unwillingness to exploit it fully, due in large part to its newness, as well as its uncontrollable fluidity.

 Data Science

data-science

The role of the CIO is changing, along with the IT department itself. Long seen as the department that looks after the computers and networks, IT is now coming into its own as an essential component of management strategy. IT has earned a seat at the executive table simply out of necessity. A company now is its data, it is its online presence, and decisions regarding branding, pricing, customer service and similar strategies need to hear from IT before they can become enacted.

CIOs who take the lead in bringing together a company’s strategic vision with the technologies available to ensure competitiveness and profitability, vault themselves from the already-important position of chief technologist to a broader-reaching position responsible for the future of the company itself.

Unstructured data is a resource; it is raw material waiting to be refined, and has the power to drive a company far beyond its competitors. But the best news of all is that this is just one of an unknown number of developments an innovations that the e-commerce age has in store for those who are prepared to act. The CIO who is capable of both building a team of engaged and informed IT professionals and finessing the political waters of the executive suite, essentially holds the future of the company in his/her hands.

By Steve Prentice

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

Using Mobile Technology To Price, Quote and Engage Customers

Using Mobile Technology To Price, Quote and Engage Customers

Using Mobile Technology To Price, Quote and Engage Customers

To remain competitive in the e-commerce age, companies are starting to recognize that one price does not fit all, and in fact, the marketplace demands a great deal of versatility. Individual consumers have experienced this when dealing with sophisticated B2C retailers such as Amazon, a company well known for adjusting prices by the minute. A TV that is on sale for $450 might quickly change down to $397 a few minutes later, thanks to algorithms that constantly check the prices and inventories of its competitors. That is how e-commerce business is done – dynamically and in real time across all channels.

algo

In many cases, the customization of an order is now essential to its successful completion. With buyers legitimately feeling more empowered and educated, there is no longer patience for static ordering and pricing systems owned and controlled entirely by the vendor. Today, the sales rep must visit the customer with wireless tablet in hand, ready to review and construct an order and pass it back to the customer, either for a signature then-and-there, or for review by the buyer’s team. Consumerization of the enterprise is happening, and so, too is enterprise mobility.

Configure Price Quote (CPQ)

One of the most dynamic demonstrations of this mobile approach can be seen in the technique of configure-price-quote (CPQ). This refers to a software solution that helps companies become more aware of their own data, especially pricing and inventory, in order to stay more competitively in line with the market. CPQ helps companies calculate discounts and close sales while still maintaining a margin.

price-quote

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Although such competitive pricing techniques might not be new in and of themselves, the way in which sales reps can now access them, wirelessly and through the cloud, means the process of selling can move forward and stay at the leading edge of both competitiveness and cost-effectiveness. Similarly, the other areas of the vendor business, such as back office/ERP, which have traditionally existed in siloes, have access to the same cloud-based data, thus improving the other support elements in the transaction, including shipping, support, and commission management.

CPQ software generally includes price sheets, catalog information and inventory data. They form an integral part of a customized sales process, assisting and even predicting a customer’s needs based on past purchases and the intelligent use of big data and predictive analytics. In short, CPQ software pulls together a range of market pricing variables, including discounts and up-sells, and configures for idealized pricing. Hence the acronym, CPQ.

 

CPQ helps companies better manage their pricing, which can be a challenge as they grow larger and employ more sales representatives and related support staff, while maintaining a growing customer base. Sales are lost when up-to-date pricing and quote opportunities are lost, and this is something that is no longer acceptable in a mobile first economy.

Though innovative practices such as CPQ are gradually inserting themselves into the commercial world, they continue to be hamstrung by legacy systems, outdated management attitudes, and inadequate communication of knowledge and data. This becomes part of the challenge of being, as KPMG calls it, “responsibly mobile.”

Companies today must build:

  • a sound strategy and roadmap for all the devices and apps that they identify as useful, competitive and cost-effective
  • a delivery method for an effective and consistent customer experience
  • an operational structure to manage data, both inbound and outbound

As Martin Sokalski and Max Hanson, both of KPMG IT Advisory Services, write in their white paper, A Framework for Responsibly Mobile, “many [companies] attempt to address these challenges [of mobile commerce], but their efforts are often siloed and fragmented. For example, some will focus all efforts on securing data on mobile devices, but fail to consider business use cases, user experience or alignment to a broader enterprise strategy.” The authors of this piece call for a coordinated “mobility center of excellence to better pull things together.”

Although CPQ is not the only solution available to companies, it represents the dynamic and centerless cloud-based world in which all businesses must exist. Some C-level decision-makers may observe cloud technology as simply an external storage space, or at best a communications and marketing vehicle. But the evolution of customer pricing and quotations as embodied by CPQ demonstrates that the entire sales process can benefit from being mobile and cloud-based. There are both cost savings and profits to be realized by moving to a state of true mobile.

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

By Steve Prentice

The Many Hats Of Today’s IT Managers

The Many Hats Of Today’s IT Managers

The Many Hats of IT Managers

In years past, the IT department of most large organizations was much like a version of Middle Earth: a mysterious nether world where people who seemed infinitely smarter than the rest of us bustled around, speaking and typing languages that appeared indecipherable, yet, which made our world work. They knew things. They were always incredibly busy, and you felt a surge of privilege when it finally became your time to have an audience with one of them.

IT Wizard 

IT-wizard

I remember the first time an IT wizard came at me with his claws. I was a student, running spreadsheet formulas in Lotus 1-2-3 (yes, I am that old) for the Forex trading floor of a major bank. Looking up from my black and green screen, I saw the head IT guy coming at me with a set of hand operated claws, like a prop from Edward Scissorhands. He plunged the points of the claws into the carpet next to my chair. It was then that I discovered I had been working upon a false floor. The claws lifted a square carpet segment up and out of the way, to reveal a maze of cables, pipes and blinking lights. Middle Earth. He dove halfway down into the space, wrestled with something unseen, and emerged upright once again. He then retreated into his climate-controlled server room, protected by magnetic door locks and the ever-present threat of a purging blast of Halon gas.

Driving Transformation

The modern age has changed much of this. The IT department is becoming a different entity – one in which secrecy gives way to openness, in-house gives way to cloud, and perhaps most significant of all, its status as a cost centre has changed to become a business. As such, IT Managers and IT executives face a serious modification to their business model. They must now wear many hats.

survey-cloud

First, the adoption of cloud technology, especially hybrid cloud, means that much of the work that IT managers used to do directly is now handled by outside experts. Security, maintenance, upgrades – these are now the domain of the managed services provider. The IT manager becomes the buyer, the client. Such a shift requires greater business skills than ever before, to identify and scrutinize key providers and delegate work accordingly. The wizard’s hat is being replaced by the entrepreneur’s hat.

The IT manager must keep this entrepreneur’s hat on while investigating consumer trends. In both the B2B and B2C worlds, customers are demanding a more personalized, engaging experience, in which big data and predictive analytics further the sales relationship at an unprecedented level of quality. Responsive websites, adaptive mobile and smartphone sites require a mindset that is both strategic and technically adept, if the competition is to be held at bay.

The IT manager must also have an executive’s hat nearby, because a seat at the boardroom table is now a necessity. No company dare make strategic decisions anymore without input from IT. The IT department is no longer there to “make it so” once a decision has been made, the IT department must be part of that decision.

IT must also wear an HR manager’s hat, since strategies BYOD and CYOD will have profound impact on attracting and retaining key talent as well as ensuring productivity from the workforce.

Time Management Skills

Time management has always been an essential skill for IT managers, but now a great deal of this must be more proactive than ever: keeping up with trends and technologies, instead of retaining the tradition of reactive time management that came along with help desk calls, firefighting and service tickets.

IT must also offer a greater awareness of human factors engineering in assessing how technologies will be used by mere mortals once deployed. There has long been a disconnect between those who held the secret knowledge of which key was the “any key” in software instructions and why certain dialog boxes tell users to click “OK” to cancel a command, or “Cancel” to continue. In earlier years, people simply proceeded as best they could, or took time out of their day to take a course. Now, however, each and every one of them is at liberty, unofficially, to go online and find something better that suits them, whether it fits with the corporate mantra or not. This too, spills over into the BYOD and cloud debates.

IT Managers must display great amounts of political savvy when dealing with CEOs and large ERP-based organizations; for although technology continues to surge ahead, there is a great deal of legacy and traditionalism to wade through.

Finally, an IT manager must feel a relentless hunger for the best. The world of business continues to roll along with dizzying swiftness, and an acceptance of this pace of change is the lynchpin to ensuring a company stays on top of the game in satisfying its clients, both internal and external. It’s still black magic, but it is now a great deal more diverse.

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

By Steve Prentice

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Mobility For Your Employees

It may seem a radical notion, the idea of selling your business to the people who work for you, but this is the era in which we now work. Employees of all levels are all incredibly aware of their options when it comes to mobility and employability. This doesn’t mean that jobs are falling out of the trees like fruit. Good jobs are still hard to find, but they are not “as” hard to find. A plethora of career websites and social media portals are available, giving motivated people great control over their personal career path. For CIOs this means adding an extra layer of internal sales to ensure employees remain engaged, productive, and present.

A significant development in this regard has to do with the devices employees use at work. The company issued laptop and phone just don’t cut it anymore. There is less prestige in lugging around a device that you don’t really like, and which doesn’t really fit; especially when the one you do like, the one you spent your own money to buy works better. Especially too, when the space between work and home is so conveniently bridged by the cloud.

BYOD

byod

The desire to use personal technology at work is called “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), and it presents a dilemma for employers. On the one hand, the ease of use of a personally chosen device tends to increase engagement and productivity. But it does do at a price, primarily in terms of its potential as a security threat. Personal devices are generally woefully under-protected. Many devices lack adequate anti-virus related technologies, and their users enjoy the convenience of cloud-based storage tools such as DropBox, iCloud and Onedrive. Such online repositories make it very convenient to deposit company files, and although they offer significant levels of encryption and protection, it might not be so easy to certify where in the world the data is being stored, which can lead to legal and compliance problems for an employer.

CYOD

CYOD

Some employers are testing out a solution to this personal device problem by offering up a range of devices for employees to choose from, a technique called Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). This procedure gives employees access to the iPads, tablets, Chromebooks and smartphones they prefer, but which have been topped up with the appropriate security apps and protocols to ensure a company’s safety.

That such a procedure has to be enacted is a sign of the times. Where, in earlier years, employees would simply take what they were given, this no longer applies. Today’s professionals expect a level of work-life balance that matches their personal goals, and having access to technology is included in this.

Tables Are Turning

employee

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The tables have turned in business and the customer is the new boss. Companies must now focus on an audience of one, providing customized experiences for each – this is the new mantra. But few employers have taken the step of seeing their employees as customers also. But they are. An employee trades time and talent for a job and a salary. It may not have always seemed this way, but more and more professionals are recognizing this about themselves, and these numbers increase as the newer generations enter – and make an impact – on the workforce and on the economy.

A new entrepreneurial mindset is required in which subsets of a company, such as the IT department, are no longer seen – or see themselves – as cost centers, but instead see themselves as a business unto themselves, buying and selling to visibly generate profit. As such, just like any competitive business, a department must now turn to disruptive technologies and innovative practices to attract and retain key talent.

According to an IBM 2013 Global C-Suite study entitled, “Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study,

  • 70% of CIOs expect to work with a wider group of partners in the future, and they’re doing so in order to generate greater strategic and business value, rather than increase efficiency or reduce costs. They’re also focusing on putting in tools to facilitate effective internal collaboration. CIOs in outperforming enterprises are in the vanguard of this movement:
  • 82 percent aim to install social business tools to help employees and partners pool their brains, compared with just 69 percent of CIOs in underperforming enterprises.
  • Mobile technologies play a big part in their plans. Most CIOs want to cater to the needs of the growing number of employees who work outside a traditional office setting. They also have an eye on the opportunities for improving productivity.

What many executives are noticing, is that transitioning to this new entrepreneurial approach to workplace technology is not an albatross. Rather than slowing down progress and increasing costs, the technologies that are available on employees’ preferred devices are making things work better: better collaboration tools, communication tools, time management tools and more. These companies are discovering that by allowing a square peg to choose a square hole, more can actually get done.

This post is brought to you by The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

By Steve Prentice

CloudTweaks Comics
Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications It’s no secret that organizations are embracing the cloud and all the benefits that it entails. Whether its cost savings, increased flexibility or enhanced productivity – businesses around the world are leveraging the cloud to scale their business and better serve their customers. They are using a variety of cloud solutions…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

Cloud Infographic: The Future of File Storage

Cloud Infographic: The Future of File Storage

 The Future of File Storage A multi-billion dollar market Data storage has been readily increasing for decades. In 1989, an 8MB Macintosh Portable was top of the range; in 2006, the Dell Inspiron 6400 became available, boasting 160GB; and now, we have the ‘Next Generation’ MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage built in. But, of course,…

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills Cloud technology has completely changed the infrastructure and internal landscape of both small businesses and large corporations alike. No professionals in any industry understand this better than IT pros. In a cutthroat field like IT, candidates have to be multi-faceted and well-versed in the cloud universe. Employers want to know that…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations Everyone knows what the cloud is, but does everybody know where the cloud is? We try to answer that as we look at some of the most unusual data centre locations in the world. Under the Eyes of a Deity Deep beneath the famous Uspenski Cathedral in the…

The Cloud Above Our Home

The Cloud Above Our Home

Our Home – Moving All Things Into The Cloud The promise of a smart home had excited the imagination of the movie makers long ago. If you have seen any TV shows in the nineties or before, the interpretation presented itself to us as a computerized personal assistant or a robot housekeeper. It was smart,…

Cloud Computing – The Good and the Bad

Cloud Computing – The Good and the Bad

The Cloud Movement Like it or not, cloud computing permeates many aspects of our lives, and it’s going to be a big part of our future in both business and personal spheres. The current and future possibilities of global access to files and data, remote working opportunities, improved storage structures, and greater solution distribution have…

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things. The Internet of Things is a…

5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

Review Before Investing In Data Analytics Big data, when handled properly, can lead to big change. Companies in a wide variety of industries are partnering with data analytics companies to increase operational efficiency and make evidence-based business decisions. From Kraft Foods using business intelligence (BI) to cut customer satisfaction analysis time in half, to a…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud Cloud computing is more than just another storage tier. Imagine if you’re able to scale up 10x just to handle seasonal volumes or rely on a true disaster-recovery solution without upfront capital. Although the pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud computing makes it a noticeable expense, it’s the only solution for many…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…